Climate change poses significant threats to the wellbeing and livelihoods of people and the ecosystems in many small island states. Adaptation solutions must counteract these threats while also supporting development in vulnerable communities. Suitable adaptation options need to ensure that connections between the social, economic and environmental dimensions of socio-economic systems are defined in a way that can support how decisions are made (and by whom) and how these can impact other parts of these systems.
This paper reports on a dynamic modelling framework for ecosystem-based adaptation planning in a SIDS island context that is focussed on the assessment of coral reef health and resilience under different climate change scenarios, and the consequential economic and human well-being impacts. Port Resolution, Tanna Island was used as a case study to develop, test and model the fringing coral reef, local community and resultant socio-ecological system.
Tourism is strongly interlinked with the natural and social environment, in particular in destinations around the Pacific, such as Vanuatu. These environments are vulnerable to climate change which impacts on the social–ecological system of destinations. Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) uses ecosystems to manage the risks of climate change.
Coral reefs are among the most fragile ecosystems that provide essential services to local island communities. It is known that climate change impacts are the leading factors in coral reefs regime shift. Naturally, exploring the characteristics and interactions shaping regime shifts of coral reefs are critical in managing system pressures; enhancing resilience; aiding their regeneration and recovery process, and restoring habitat complexity.
Understanding climate risk in Vanuatu is critical to the success of the tourism industry. Given the connections between economic, socio-cultural, political, and environmental variables in destinations throughout Vanuatu, assessments of climate risk requires a whole of system approach. Mapping linkages and interactions can help to explore climate risks and impacts and safeguard the industry from exposure and maladaptation.
Adapting to changing climate requires taking steps to prevent or reduce the negative impacts of these changes on socio-ecological systems. It also requires the integration of disciplines, stakeholders, different modelling approaches, treatment options, and scales of analysis. To address these issues, we reviewed 116 peer-reviewed research papers to understand planning frameworks, methods and tools utilised in the region.